• Robyn Spens

Unsung Heroes: The Power of Enzymes

Updated: Jun 21

Digestive Enzymes: Why They Are Crucial for Your Health?



Unsung Heroes

Unsung Heroes

Everyone is focused on what they eat, but what about how they digest?

People have a general idea of what digestive enzymes are, but not many have considered the scope of their importance and the role they play for optimal overall health.


What They Are and What They Do

Digestion doesn’t just take place in your stomach. The pancreas produces a large portion of your digestive enzymes, as do the small intestine, stomach lining, liver, and salivary glands (digestion begins in the mouth, after all). But these enzymes do not digest your food. They digest nutrients.


Digestive enzymes are the catalysts responsible for breaking down food to extract nutrients.


They are then converted to:

  • Amino acids from proteins

  • Fatty acids and cholesterol from fats

  • Simple and complex sugars from carbohydrates

  • And other vitamins, minerals, and compounds.

This process is by no means as simple as input-output. Dozens of different enzymes work together along the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to break down macronutrients from the foods you eat. These nutrients are then sent through the bloodstream to the liver and then are absorbed into the lymphatic system, which distributes them to tissues, organs, and muscles.


As you can imagine, this complex exchange is responsible for the body’s access to fuel. But it doesn’t end there. Digestive enzymes affect factors for daily life that are not often considered.


Bibliography

1 Wallace M. The Digestive System & How it Works. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. September 2013. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/digestive-system-how-it-work s. Accessed May 17, 2017.


2 Wallace M. The Digestive System & How it Works. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. September 2013. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/digestive-system-how-it-work s. Accessed May 17, 2017.


3 Wallace M. The Digestive System & How it Works. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. September 2013. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/digestive-system-how-it-work s. Accessed May 17, 2017.


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